(NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN)
The Women’s Lacrosse team has earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, which starts Friday. (NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN)

After a 15-2 regular season, the Stony Brook Women’s Lacrosse team took home the America East Championship at Kenneth P. Lavalle Stadium by virtue of their dominant wins over New Hampshire in the semifinals and Albany in the title game.

With their 13-5 and 7-1 wins respectively, the Seawolves earned an automatic bid into the 26-team NCAA tournament which starts this Friday.

Gathered as a team following their decisive win over the Great Danes earlier on Sunday, Stony Brook watched as NCAA.com revealed the bracket for the upcoming tournament. The Seawolves had to wait until the final two unseeded slots to find out that they would have a rematch with the team they beat in the first round of last year’s NCAA tournament.

On Friday evening, Stony Brook will look to maintain their perfect tournament record against the Towson Tigers, who they defeated 8-6 in a tightly contested duel last year. Behind goalie Frankie Caridi, this season’s Tewaaraton Award nominee (which acknowledges the most outstanding player in college lacrosse), the Seawolves contained a late push by the Tigers in the final five minutes of the game to earn their first NCAA tournament win in their first appearance.

The game will be held on the soccer field of the second-seeded Syracuse Orange. With a win over the Tigers, the Seawolves would get a shot at taking out the No. 1 team in the nation according to RPI, which compiles a team’s winning percentage, their opponent’s winning percentage and the strength of those opponent’s schedules.

If it does come down to a matchup with Syracuse, fans can rejoice in seeing that the Albany Great Danes scored 11 goals against the Orange earlier this season. In two games against Stony Brook this year, Albany managed a total of 5.

With their win Sunday, Stony Brook defended their America East title from last year, giving coach Joe Spallina his second title in only three seasons after residing near the bottom of the conference in years past. The win also gave assistant coach Caitlin Defliese her sixth America East title after four as a player at Boston University, tying Liza Shoemaker’s record for most titles in America East history, player or coach.

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